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Zoom H1

The Zoom H1 is their entry-level mic, but its performance is anything but entry-level. In general, it boasts most of the same features as the nicer Zooms, including one-button recording, built-in X/Y mics, WAV, and the option to use an external mic (only through 1/8" line-in, however). It doesn't have the beefier elements of the more expensive Zooms, like extra XLR inputs and rugged field-readiness, but for only $99, it's hard to imagine easily capturing better tone than this. I've seen the Zoom H1 used for weddings (in the groom's pocket, with concealed lav mic), HDSLR video shoots, and, of course recording music.

In fact, you might be interested to know that our earliest guitar recordings were made with this microphone. Check out the very first video we ever shot, for the Avalon L220C (you can watch it here, ideally with good headphones). You can ignore the vocals—we were still ironing out a few recording technicalities back then—but listen to the fat, articulate tone coming from that guitar. Yes, the Avalon L220C is an amazing guitar, but a lousy mic would not have picked up any of that character and nuance. 

  • Inputs: 2 built-in X/Y, line in
  • Outputs: Line/headphone, or removable micro-USB
  • Records WAV or MP3
  • 9 hours battery life (1 x AA)
  • Includes 2GB SD card and 1 AA battery
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